Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Football is back baby!

Posted by mizzou1028 on September 2, 2010

Today all feels right with the world again.  Tonight is the start of the college football season.  After a month of useless NFL preseason scrimmages, we finally get to see some real football that means something.  I am actually somewhat disappointed that I am stuck watching the Broncos and Vikings backups tonight when I could be watching actual college football.   At least I’ll be able to do that on Saturday, and we will be treated to an excellent slate of games during the first weekend.  I will be at Invesco Field at Mile High for the Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado and Colorado State, but I will also be keeping an eye on a number of other great games.  In fact I have Monday night blocked out to watch what should be a dandy between Boise State and Virginia Tech.  If Boise State has any hope of crashing the national championship party, they must win this game, a tough task to be sure in Washington D.C., which makes this a de facto home game for the Hokies.  As always there are a lot of college storylines to keep an eye on:

The last season before realignment: This will be the final season for Utah and Brigham Young in the Mountain West Conference.  The former is headed to the Pac 10 next year and the latter is going independent in football while joining the West Coast Conference in basketball.  The MWC will fill their shoes in 2011 with Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State (all leaving the WAC).  This will also be Nebraska’s final salvo in the Big 12 (headed to the Big 10), and probably the last Big 12 hurrah for Colorado as well (the Buffaloes are trying to head to the Pac 10 in 2011 but may have to wait until 2012 for financial reasons).  Will this year be the final time we see the storied rivalries of Utah-BYU and CU-Nebraska?  I would say Utah and BYU would be nuts to not schedule each other in a non-conference game after this year, but something tells me this might be last we see of the Huskers and Buffs for awhile.  While the changes coming in 2011 are not as bad as they could have been, it will still be significant, so enjoy this year’s conference setup while it still lasts.

New Coaches: I have to admit that while I am rapidly starting to despise Lane Kiffin, I am still curious to see how he’ll do at USC.  He inherits the mess left behind by Pete Carroll, including a hefty probation.  They still have top 15 talent so they should be fun to watch.  I hope that Tennessee rebounds from the mess that Kiffin left there after just one year.  A large part of me hopes that they succeed while USC falters, because I think Kiffin did not treat Tennessee fairly in any way.  We also of course have Brian Kelly taking over at Notre Dame, and again I think he did his former program (Cincinnati) absolutely wrong.  I don’t blame him for taking the ND job, but he should have at least stuck around at Cincy to coach them in the Sugar Bowl last year against Florida.  They way he left his players hung out to dry before that game is absolutely despicable.  For that reason, it makes Notre Dame very difficult to root for as long as Kelly is the coach.  Here’s hoping Butch Jones can keep things going in Cincy for those fans.

Other notable coaching changes include new Big 12 coaches in Kansas (Turner Gill) and Texas Tech (Tommy Tuberville).  As much as I hate KU being a Mizzou alum, I think Gill is a great coach and will make KU really good in a few years.  It will also be weird to see Florida State without Bobby Bowden roaming the sideline.  Bowden was forced out, ahem, excuse me, retired, and now Jimbo Fisher takes over the program.  Other coaching changes in BCS conferences took place at Virginia (Mike London now in) and Vanderbilt (Robbie Caldwell).

Who will win the Heisman Trophy: While it is not stated so, it is obvious that only quarterbacks, running backs and receivers are eligible for this award.  Otherwise, Ndamukong Suh should have been a landslide winner last year.  When I saw him person last season I was blown away by his ability to dominate the line and control the game defensively for Nebraska.  Alabama running back Mark Ingram won it last year, but he will have a hard time repeating this year because it’s almost impossible to win it twice.  He will also miss the first part of the season due to injury.  This year’s race appears to be as wide open as ever but the favorite in my mind is Jake Locker, quarterback for Washington.  My darkhorse candidate is Noel Devine, running back for West Virginia.  Another possibility?  Boise State QB Kellen Moore.  This would be the ultimate sign of respect for non-BCS programs if he were to win it.

Who will win it all? The trendy pick seems to be Alabama to repeat, and they are certainly up there with the top contenders.  I think Florida is always dangerous in the SEC as well.  I think Ohio State appears to be easily the best team in the Big 10 on paper (no disrespect intended to Iowa, but last year was a clear fluke and they’re going to fall hard), while of course Texas and Oklahoma are always there in the Big 12.  I also think Nebraska is a darkhorse there to make a challenge for the BCS berth.  Oregon and Virginia Tech are the best teams in their respective conferences, but I don’t see either challenging for the national title.  Boise State and TCU certainly believe their names should be in the hat, and if either or both go undefeated like last year, they will have a strong case.  In the end I think Oklahoma is going to have a bounce back season from last year’s injury riddled campaign, and I think the Sooners will square off against Ohio State in the title game.  I think Boise State loses to Virginia Tech this weekend, and that will knock them out.  I think TCU could go undefeated, but if they do the BCS will once again work against them.  In the end I’m a Big 12 guy, so I’m taking Oklahoma to win it all.

College football is back, enjoy the season folks!

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